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Cori Fugere Urban

Cori Fugere Urban

Cori Urban is a longtime writer for the communications efforts of the Diocese of Burlington and former editor of The Vermont Catholic Tribune.

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Photo book about Fatima anniversary

As a way to keep alive the memory of the Vermont celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, the Burlington Diocesan Division of the World Apostolate of Fatima (Blue Army) has produced a commemorative book with photographs of events throughout the statewide Diocese.
 
It is dedicated to the late Roland and Clairette Berard, longtime active members.
 
“If this book were not done, this tour would fade into the distant past and be gone very quickly,” commented Richard A. Gravelin of St. John Vianney Parish in South Burlington, former interim secretary and current president. “Having this little book as a remembrance will help keep this work alive a little longer.”
 
To celebrate the centennial, the Burlington World Apostolate of Fatima spread the message of peace, reconciliation and reparation throughout the state with a series of  events focusing on Our Lady.
 
The state statue of Our Lady of Fatima was brought to more than a half dozen parishes beginning in May at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Wilmington and concluding in October at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington.
 
“We believe that Our Lady is with us in helping her to spread the message for peace, and that God will grant the grace of conversion to sinners,” Gravelin said.
 
He is gathering photos people took on the tour as well as critical documents from the planning and implementation. He hopes to have 60 books published through an on-line publisher.
 
The book includes copy and about 60 or 70 color photos including photos of churches, windows, Marian processions with people, celebrants and priests.
 
For more information about the book, call is 802-862-2240. A PDF version can be downloaded from the attachment below.
 
  • Published in Nation

St.Therese Digital Academy enrollment increases

Enrollment at the Diocese of Burlington’s St. Therese Digital Academy has grown from four to 52.
 
Principal Lisa Lorenz attributes the growth to several factors including grant money from Our Sunday Visitor and the Catholic Communications Campaign of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, word of mouth, courses for the Lay Formation Program Institute for Missionary Discipleship, the building of the digital academy’s own curriculum and existing brick and mortar schools using its courses.
 
St. Therese Digital Academy is an online diocesan Catholic high school with a rigorous program grounded in the firm foundation of the Catholic faith. The academy works with parents in their role as the primary educators of their children by providing flexible options to assist with the diverse educational needs of students and their families. Its goal is to develop well-grounded disciples of Jesus Christ who possess 21st-century skills, equipping them to fulfill their roles as members of the Body of Christ within society.
 
The digital academy offers high school courses and theology for the Lay Formation Program, with projections for catechetical classes for ongoing professional development.
 
“We are rolling out our own courses. We are beginning our adult theology classes and have projected to roll out courses for the Diocesan Lay Formation Program as part of the Institute for Missionary Discipleship. In addition, our courses are being used in our existing [Catholic] schools now with increasing interest,” said Lorenz, who is also superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Burlington and principal of Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington.
  • Published in Diocesan

Laity in Catholic schools

When David Estes, principal of The School of Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales in Bennington, walked into his first meeting of Vermont Catholic school principals in 1987, he looked around the room and saw one religious brother; the rest of the principals were women religious.
 
Now he is no longer the minority; Vermont has no Catholic school principals who are members of religious orders.
 
And according to Lisa Lorenz, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Burlington, this years marks the first year there are no religious sisters on staff of any of the 14 Catholic schools in Vermont, though pastors and other clergy are “wonderful” about visiting the schools.
 
Father Scott Gratton is the new part-time vice principal for Catholic mission at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington.
 
Staffing is just one change Estes – a husband and father of two -- has lived through in his nearly 40 years in Catholic education – all at the Bennington school where he used to teach third and fifth grades.
 
“I have a lot of history” here, he said as he sat in a school office that was once a choir loft overlooking what was Sacred Heart Church.
 
The 1995 closing of the church located within the brick school building is but one of the changes Estes has witnessed. When Sacred Heart Church was merged with St. Francis de Sales Church, the Bennington parish became Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales, and eventually the name of Sacred Heart School was changed to that of the parish.
 
Other changes he has experienced during his tenure at the school are numerous: the reinstatement of grades seven and eight and the addition of a preschool; the expansion of the school into the church space for use as a multi-purpose room; an increase in interest in Catholic education among non-Catholics seeking quality education and a safe, disciplined environment; and the retirement of the last Sister of St. Joseph to teach in the school.
 
“For decades, schools were staffed entirely by religious but as numbers of religious decreased, schools were staffed by very capable, committed lay colleagues who ministered with religious and understood/understand what Catholic education is about,” commented Sister of Mercy Marianne Read, a former Catholic school teacher, principal and superintendent in Vermont.
 
“All lay teachers today in Catholic education understand that by the words spoken and by their presence to children and young adults, they can bring faith and hope and joy,” she continued. “Our lay teachers, continue the legacy of religious [congregations] and continue to build on a strong foundation, for they teach us that it is not just the crucifix on the wall or the statue of Mary or Joseph in the school building that makes a school Catholic. It is not just the priests, religious sisters and brothers or lay teachers we have that make a school Catholic. It is this and far more. It is the living out of the charism of the religious orders who taught in the schools. It is the teaching of Gospel values and striving to model the message of Christ on a daily basis, not just in religion class but witnessed to throughout the school day; it is our conscious participation in the life and mission of the Church that makes us Catholic.”
 
When the last Sister of St. Joseph at Sacred Heart School retired, Estes said there was concern about maintaining the Catholicity of the school, but the lay teachers and staff members live, teach and pray in ways that make it clear this is a Catholic school. “There is a joy here surrounded by the Catholic faith,” Estes said.
 
School Masses and prayer are key, he added. “When you see the students singing the Lord’s Prayer, they’re not singing. They’re praying. They mean it. It’s the presence of God here among everyone.”
 
Last year six students were baptized, an example of the evangelization role played by the school, once filled with only Catholic children. “We are evangelizing all the time,” Estes said.
 
Other changes he has witnessed through the years include the addition of technology and technology education to keep up with the changing times; the addition of athletic teams that build school spirit; more single-parent families and safe environment training for teachers, staff and volunteers.
 
“The gift of religious and clergy is truly a gift, and the gift of the laity is a gift,” Lorenz said. And having all-lay staffs in Catholic schools “is different, but this is a new time in our world” when there are fewer religious and clergy available to staff schools.
 
When Estes first came to the Catholic school, tuition was $50 a month; now it is $475. Though financial assistance is available, Estes said new ways of financing Catholic education need to be found.
 
As he looks to the future, Estes can’t help but look back on the changes he has experienced. “We’ve had a lot of change here at the school,” he said. “Change takes a lot of work, a lot of forethought and a willingness to change. …Change is a risk, but you have to go forward.”
 
--Originally published in the Fall 2017 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.
  • Published in Diocesan

Catholic radio now available

“Catholic Radio is up and broadcasting in Burlington, Winooski, Essex and South Burlington! Congratulations to Donna McSoley and all who helped her make this happen,” Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne enthused on social media.
 
The station went live Sept. 29, the Feast of the Archangels.
 
Tune in to WRXJ, 105.5 FM for Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio, dedicated to helping listeners grow in holiness in Jesus Christ.
 
The low-power radio station is owned by St. Francis Xavier Parish Charitable Trust; it broadcasts from St. Francis Xavier Parish in Winooski.
 
A member of the parish, Donna McSoley, landed a permit with the Federal Communications Commission to build the radio station. She now serves as its president.
 
An Oct. 1 post on the non-profit station’s Facebook page noted, “We are on the air! Tune in to 105.5 FM to hear Our Lady Of Perpetual Help Radio — your prescription for joy.”
 
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio’s programming purpose is evangelization and catechesis. Broadcasting from Winooski, it reaches communities in the Burlington area with its signal reaching across Lake Champlain into New York.
 
McSoley said she was relieved, excited and happy to have the station on the air. “I love listening to it in the car,” she enthused. “Now the fun part can start.”
 
She would like to include homilies of local priests, some local programming and talks on topics of Catholic interest and on topics of social issues.
 
Programming currently includes EWTN Live, Mornings with Mother, Sunday Night Prime and Women of Grace. “The EWTN content is so excellent,” McSoley said.
 
Through broadcasting scripture, sound doctrine and pastoral advice, the station is committed to helping listeners understand the Catholic faith, increase hope by preaching truth and bring about the interior conversion that is demanded in the Gospels.
 
According to its website, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio Inc. is faithful to the teachings of sacred Scripture, sacred tradition and the magisterium: “We hope that our encouragement will bring people in deeper union with God, and in doing so, strengthen our community. In a world that has lost its way, we offer hope and invite all to know clarity, wisdom and truth through the lens of the Church that Jesus founded, in order to bring it peace, love and light.”
 
“I want to support the Diocese to evangelize and proclaim the Gospel,” McSoley said.
 
For programming information, go to wrxj1055.org/programing.
 
 
  • Published in Diocesan
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